Book Review: The Funny Thing About War by Al Campo

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] The Funny Thing About War by Al Campo is part fictional War story and part autobiography. It is the story of a young, 22 year old man called to duty in the Navy and then sent to Southeast Asia as a crewman on a Destroyer conducting fire missions up and down the coast of North and South Vietnam. The book itself is 413 pages of text separated into eleven chapters. Because it is ostensibly a work of fiction there is … Read more…

Book Review: Old Soldiers by David Weber

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Old Soldiers is an older book but one I just got around to reading.  It is another foray by David Weber into the Concordiat universe created by Keith Laumer and populated by the sentient AI tanks known as BOLOs.

I you have read Weber’s earlier book Bolo! then you will understand the back story of the two main characters.  Menaka Trevor and the BOLO Lazarus.  Both were featured in a novella in that anthology.  This book picks up after the events in BOLO! with what the Concordiat does with Trevor and Lazarus after they are the only survivors f their battalion following the defense of the planet Chartres against a Melconian attack.

Spoilers below!

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Book Review: BOLO! by David Weber

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Bolo! by David Weber is kind of an anthology and kind of a series of related novels, I cannot decide which.  Regardless, it is a solid offering from Weber, of Honorverse fame.  The book is 388 pages and consists of 4 chronologically arranged BOLO stories with an annex on the technical characteristics of the evolution of the BOLO. If you are not familiar with the super tanks known as BOLOs from the books of Keith Laumer this is a good introductory book that will make you want to go read more from Laumer, the guy that invented the concept.  Weber does a solid job of telling these stories as he does … Read more…

Review: Gulf War Ghosts by W.P. Armstrong

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I will admit up front that I normally shy away from historical fiction like it is the plague.  Gulf War Ghosts has made me rethink that position.  This is historical fiction that uses a historical period as the setting but dos not try to play what if games with events.  The setting is the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf war and the plot revolves around mysterious attacks on several American soldiers. With the exception of one mistake one of my biggest pet peeves about any writing having to do with military units was a non-issue.  That is, he gets the format and style of unit designations correct.  There is none … Read more…

Book Review- Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese

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Starship Grifters is a mix of Slanted Jack, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Mort from Discworld. This book takes you on a hilarious, fast-paced adventure as a scam artist skips from one crisis and scam to another always staying one step ahead of disaster. The pop culture references and double entendres are skillfully woven into a great story you won’t want to put down. Rex Nihilo and his hilarious adventure left me wanting more. I find that humor in fiction is hard to write and there are very few books touted as humorous that can get me to laugh out loud thus garnering strange looks from people around me.  This book is one … Read more…

Book Review: Under a Graveyard Sky & To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo

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Under a Graveyard Sky & To Sail a Darkling Sea together are yet another excellent offering from John Ringo, one of the masters at writing combat sci fi today.  These are the first two books in the Black Tide Rising series, the next book in the series, Islands of Rage and Hope is due for release in August, 2014. The concept behind the series is the Zombie Apocalypse, a popular theme in fiction in the past 5-10 years.  This is a variation on that theme with the difference being that the zombies are not undead, they are still alive just infected.  The zombies have been infected with a virus that essentially eliminates higher order thinking … Read more…

Book Review: Power Games by Richard Peters

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] I get 5-10 requests a month from publishers and authors to review their books here on B&BR and usually accept 3-4 of them because I don’t have as much time to read as I would like.  When Richard Peters, the author of Power Games: Operation Enduring Unity I contacted me and inquired about reviewing his book I had a stack of 5 other books I was working through and initially almost turned him down for lack of time.  Man, am I glad I did … Read more…

Book Review: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.

Earth Unaware is the first book of the Formic War trilogy, which is the prequel to the The Ender Quartet that first appeared in the 1980’s.  It essentially tells the story of how earth and humanity got into the position of developing Battle School and the fleets that Ender uses to wipe out the Formics in Ender’s Game. This book starts off with rather a whimper but quickly picks up speed and keeps you glues to the pages.  I got the distinct impression that my wife was annoyed because I would not put the book down in the evenings while I was reading it.  Anyone who has read the Ender Quartet will … Read more…

Book Review: Slow Apocalypse by John Varley

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Slow Apocalypse by John Varley is one of those books that only come along once every few years.  It is a book that makes you think without even realizing it.  The first Varley book I ever read was Steel Beach and Slow Apocalypse is on a par with that book.  It is an absorbing read and somewhat of a morality tale. The book itself 438 pages long and I would guess it runs about 60,000 words. The premise is interesting and plausible.  Imagine some mad scientist developing a bacteria that breaks the hydrogen bonds in petroleum turning oil into worthless sludge.  That is what happens in this book.  The story itself follows the … Read more…

Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tom Kratman

The Lotus Eaters is the third installment of the Legio del Cid series by Mr Kratman. The book picks up after the Legion has successfully pacified Pashtia and returned to Balboa. Its takes place mainly in Balboa as the Legion prepares for their inevitable showdown with the corrupt rump regime protected by the Tauran Union in their enclave near the Balboan Transitway. This is an obvious stepping stone book that fleshes out the story and provides more background rather than really advancing the plot line of the series. If I were a cynic I would say that this appears to be a mash up of all the mini-plots Mr. Kratman … Read more…

Book Promotion: The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines by Eddie Thompkins

The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines-Book Cover

Loyal readers, I was approached by Mr Thompkins via email about reviewing his novel The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines. This is a self-published work and one I will not be able to read for at least a month because of the pile of other books I have recently gotten from publishers. I plan on reading this book and writing up a review on it but in the meantime in the interests of encouraging other people to write and giving them a chance to publicize their own work I offered to let him post a promotional piece here at Battles & Book Reviews. Below is the text he sent me to promote … Read more…

Book Review: 11/22/1963 by Stephen King

I will say up front that I have read every book by Stephen King.  He generally hits it out of the park but he has had some books that I just hated, Gerald’s Game and The Dark Tower Series come immediately to mind as duds. 11/22/63 is not one of them.  It is a great book that you won’t want to put down until the end. Ostensibly, this is the story of a man who goes back in time to try and stop the assassination of JFK in Dealey Plaza.  That is how it starts and for the first little bit you will think that is all it is about.  Stopping Oswald ends … Read more…

Book Review: Watership Down by Richard Adams

This improbable tale of brave rabbits is a classic and one of the best stories I have ever read.  It first came out in the seventies and a movie adaptation was made in 1978 by the BBC.  It is the tale of a group of rabbits who leave their home warren because of a premonition and the many adventures they have as they cross the English countryside in search of a new home and go through the struggles of establishing one on Watership Down.  The story itself is outstanding but what makes it even cooler in my opinion is that all the places in the book actually exist.  A Google … Read more…

Book Review: Countdown: H Hour by Tom Kratman

Countdown: H Hour is the third installment in the Countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first two books.  This book happens at the same time as the events in M Day but in the Phillipines as part of the Regiment conducts a completely separate mission to rescue a rich Phillipino businessman who has been kidnapped by a group of Moro terrorists from the Basilan region.  The action is almost non-stop as the short battalion for the mission conducts operations in Somalia, Basilan, and around Manila in the course of the book.  Adam, the Somali kidnapped … Read more…

Book Review: A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo

A Hymn Before Battle is the first book in Ringo’s Posleen War Series. It is also Ringo’s first published book if I have my facts straight. Regardless, when I first read this book back in 2002 I thought then and have been subsequently proved right that there are authors out there that are just as good as Heinlein at catching the readers attention and keeping it and Ringo is one of them. Imagine horse-sized reptiloid centaurs that think you are lunch, use advanced weaponry, and think the massed wave attack is the height of tactical finesse. The book is the story of how humanity discovers that not only are we … Read more…